Friday, April 20, 2012

I struck good strokes more than one

‘April 20 [1826]…The day was so tempting that I went out with Tom Purdie to cut some trees,
the rather that my task was very well advanced. He led me into the wood, as the blind 
King of Bohemia was led by his four knights into the thick of the battle at Agincourt or Crecy,
and then, like the old King, "I struck good strokes more than one," which is manly exercise.’
Blind King John of Bohemia wouldn’t have it said that a Bohemian king had avoided battle.
Lockhart’s note to Scott’s journal suggests turning to Jean Froissart’s description of the Battle
 of Crecy: ‘…The valiant king of Bohemia called [John] of Luxembourg, son to the noble
 emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the order
 of the battle, he said to them about him: 'Where is the lord Charles my son?' His men said:
 'Sir, we cannot tell; we think he be fighting.' Then he said: 'Sirs, ye are my men, my 
companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike
 one stroke with my sword.' They said they would do his commandment, and to the intent
 that they should not lose him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to other
 and set the king before to accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies.
The lord Charles of Bohemia his [King John’s] son, who wrote himself king of Almaine
and bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw that the matter
 went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The king his father was 
so far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought 
valiantly and so did his company; and they adventured themselves so forward, that they 
were there all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all
 their horses tied each to other…’

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